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I see a guy walking down the street with a stupid look on his face and I want to bash him over the head with a bottle. To me that's normal. It's weird to me that no one else feels that way. It's all I think about. I can't stop.
Olson to Rossi

Eric Ryan Olson is a budding serial rapist, and serial killer and copycat-turned-spree killer who appeared in the Season Four episode of Criminal Minds, "Zoe's Reprise".


"I always knew I'd end up back in prison; just a matter of when. You can come interview me if you want. I read in one of your books that's how you build your behavioral database, right? Maybe you can learn something from me. I got a lot of questions myself. I'll be honest with you if you're honest with me. 'Cause the one thing that you always ask is the one I don't understand: why. I've no idea why."

Olson was born on March 28, 1985, and, by his own account, was a sickly child, regularly suffering from illnesses such as strep throat. On January 25, 2005, Olson attempted to rape a woman and was arrested and subsequently spent three-and-a-half years in prison. During his incarceration, he took up independent correspondent classes in forensic science and criminology with Gladman University. After being paroled in July 2008, Olson met a bar waitress named Linda Jones through the Internet, and the two began dating. Olson, using his extensive knowledge of serial killers, began committing a series of copycat murders. By randomly choosing victims and alternating M.O.s, his crimes were unconnected by the authorities. To relive his kills, Olson took pictures of the murder sites, framed them and decorated the walls of his apartment with them, while Jones was unaware of his status as a serial killer. The two had a mostly normal relationship, except for the fact that Olson would regularly have Jones play the victim in his sexual fantasy. This fantasy involved him pretending to choke, rape, and later kiss her on the forehead at the sites where he committed his murders, this being the only way he could achieve a fulfilling sexual experience.

Zoe's Reprise[]

While walking home from the liquor store one night, Olson passes by the house of one of his victims, spotting criminology student Zoe Hawkes snooping around the property. Approaching her, Olson convinces her he is not a threat and the two begin talking, with Hawkes eventually mentioning the deaths, which she theorizes are the work of one killer, that have plagued the area over the last few weeks. Thinking she is onto him, Olson locks the yard gate and advances on her, bashing her with a bottle when she panics and tries to run. When she falls, Olson garrotes her with her own scarf, feeling compelled to kiss her forehead while doing so. His murder of Hawkes having helped him discover his preferred method of killing, Olson, after skimming through one of Rossi's books, goes to a hardware store and buys some wire, which he uses later that night to murder a jogger, dumping the corpse in a body of water near a bridge. The BAU initially believe the latest murder to be another copycat kill, copied from Altemio Sanchez, the Bike Path Rapist. Whipped into a murderous frenzy, Olson, after augmenting and practicing with his garrote, kills a homeless woman in the morning, leading the BAU to believe that he has now "found his own style".

Olson spends the rest of the day in the bar where Jones works. When she gets off work, Olson meets her in the park and the two go into the bushes to have sex, Olson pretending to choke her, as usual. As Olson unfastens his pants, the BAU, having found Olson's DNA on Hawkes's body and, thinking he is in the midst of committing another murder, appear and arrest him, surprised to learn that Jones is his girlfriend. While in custody, Olson, against the advice of his lawyer, asks to speak with Rossi, claiming to be a big fan. Implying that he had committed more than just the eight murders he is being charged with, Olson makes it clear he wants a deal, and he and Rossi get into a lengthy discussion, in which Rossi gives a brief profile of Olson, explaining why he has been kissing his latest victims. After talking to Jones and inspecting Olson's apartment, discovering his picture collection, the BAU discern where the bodies of his other four victims are, leaving Olson without a bargaining chip. Conceding, Olson admits to Rossi that he does not know why he feels compelled to kill people and claims he just cannot stop himself, also asking Rossi if he would be willing to visit and interview him in prison.


"My lawyer here explains that I'm being charged with eight murders and that I'm probably looking at the death penalty. I've one very important question for you... are you sure it's just eight?"

The unsub is a white male in his early to mid-20s and an anger-excitation offender who copies the M.O.'s of other killers because he is inexperienced and essentially trying to find himself, trying to discern which method of killing he prefers, hence why the crime scenes seemed disorganized (the cuts on Lily Nicks's neck were shallow, the unsub seemed unable to decide what to kill Kayla James with, etc.). This means he is young and impressionable, likely a student studying Criminology, whose computer would be filled with research on serial killers and images of violent crimes and snuff films, which he would treat like pornography that would provide him with a sexual release. The unsub would be socially immature, of average intelligence, psychopathic, and antisocial, meaning he probably lives alone. His small kill zone means he is a geographically stable offender and, because his first act was to mimic the somewhat obscure Butcher of Kingsbury Run (who he did not copy fully, being "frightened" of the crime and wanting to get it over with as soon as possible), he is likely a lifelong resident of the area, who grew up hearing stories of the Butcher. He would keep up with the investigation, has probably committed more murders than the ones that are accounted for, and, like most young people, his mind is always very active. If caught, it is likely that he would be curious and ask a variety of questions about himself and his condition.

When the unsub's murders began showing consistency, it was realized the unsub had found himself, likely due to his murder of Zoe. That crime was completely unplanned and disorganized, with the unsub acting quickly and on instinct, liking what came naturally to him and wanting to feel it again. Something is causing him to go on a rampage, most likely a drastic change in his life, or something that he lost or gained control of, like himself. Finally defining himself as a serial strangler drives him into a frenzy, causing him to commit a string of practice murders to perfect his style. His signature (the action he needed to perform during his murders that gave him psychological release) was kissing the forehead of his victims, to feel the heat leave them.

Rossi theorized, judging by Olson's slight, pale and sickly appearance, that his parents kissed his forehead to check his temperature when he was sick and that, at some point in his development, he warped that caring gesture into something perverted.

Modus Operandi[]

In his search for a unique M.O. to use, Olson initially copied the M.O.s of infamous killers that he researched, primarily through Rossi's books. As such, he killed people through a variety of means, which included shooting, throat slashing, and asphyxiation, with two of his victims also being raped even though the original killers didn't do so to their victims.

After strangling Zoe Hawkes with her scarf, Olson found that he enjoyed using this method of killing, and began using a length of wire to garrote his victims from the front. His signature for his last three murders was kissing the victim's forehead as he or she died as a reference to how his parents would kiss him on the forehead when he was sick as a child and so that he could feel the life drain out of them. As a forensic countermeasure, Olson did something to remove his saliva from his victims (with the exception of Hawkes, since her murder was spontaneous and incidental), such as throwing the jogger's body in water and wiping the homeless woman's forehead with an alcohol swab. It is unknown if the basis of the murders of Olson's first four victims were based on the M.O.'s of other infamous killers.

Real-Life Comparisons[]

Olson appears to be partly inspired by Robert Garrow - Both were spree killers with a history of sex crimes before their murders (attempted in Olson's case), escalate to killing sprees when closer to being caught (Garrow was on trial for rape, Olson was being investigated by Zoe Hawkes), left several of their murder victims in the woods, had murder victims the authorities hadn't found yet by the time they were arrested, and told their lawyers the locations of the remains, which couldn't be revealed under attorney-client privilege.

Olson is similar to Gilles de Rais - Both were serial killers and rapists (Rais was a serial, while Olson was budding) who had varying M.O.s and kissed their victims after killing them.

Olson may have also been inspired by Edmund Kemper - Both are serial killers who committed crimes before their later murders, appeared to mainly target one gender (Kemper mainly targeted young women, though did kill elderly ones as well as his grandfather, Olson appeared to have mainly targeted men, though also killed women), and had a varying M.O. Also Kemper's quote: "When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things: one part of me wants to take her home, be real nice and treat her right; the other part wonders what her head would look like on a stick." is somewhat similar to the one Olson gave to the BAU.

He may have also been based on Arthur Shawcross - Both were serial killers and serial rapists (budding serial rapist in Olson's case) who specifically targeted one gender (females in Shawcross' case, while Olson primarily targeted men, yet also killed women, who coincidentally enough, one was a prostitute), and brought their girlfriends/wives to the scenes of their murders, and both had varying M.O.s (which both involved stabbing and strangulation).

In addition to copying Berkowitz' M.O., his habit of having sex with his girlfriend at his old crime scenes may be also based on Berkowitz' tendency to return to his crime scenes and masturbate there.

Known Victims[]

  • January 28, 2005: Unnamed woman (attempted to rape)
  • 2009:
    • January-February:
      • An unidentified victim (killed by unknown causes and buried his body in Cedar Park)
      • An unidentified victim (killed by unknown causes and dumped their body in the Edgewater Channel)
      • An unidentified victim (killed by unknown causes and dumped her body in Cuyahoga Valley Park)
      • An unidentified victim (killed by unknown causes and dumped their body in the Euclid Creek)
    • January 9: Travis Bartlett (a homosexual; lured from a gay bar and shot at a park in Kingsbury Run; partially based on The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run’s murder of Edward W. Andrassy[1])
    • January 22: Lily Nicks (a prostitute; was raped and had her throat slashed repeatedly and shallowly with a knife in an alley; partially based on Jack the Ripper’s murder of Elizabeth Stride)
    • February 8: June Appleby and Troy Wersteler (two college students; both shot in the head inside a car at a parking lot with a .44 Charter Arms Bulldog revolver in an ambush; based on David Berkowitz’s murders of Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani)
    • February 15: Kayla James (a homeowner; bound, raped, and fatally suffocated in a home invasion; partially based on Dennis Rader’s murder of Shirley Vian Relford)
    • February 18: Zoe Hawkes (incidental; was struck in the head with a bag of bottles, then fatally strangled with her scarf at Kayla James's crime scene)
    • February 19: Unnamed male jogger (strangled with a garrote wire at a bike path and dumped his body in a nearby creek)
    • February 20: Unnamed homeless woman (strangled with a garotte wire like the previous victim at an alley)


  • Olson's actor, Johnny Lewis, actually committed a real-life murder in 2012. He strangled an elderly woman to death, ransacked her house, and then accidentally fell from the house's roof to his death.
  • Olson appears to have been inspired by Daniel Dryden (Killer Profile) - Both are copycat serial-turned-spree killers who copied the M.O.s of famous serial killers from the past, with one of their murders emulating David Berkowitz.
  • Eric Olson is the sixth of only eleven serial killers in the show's history to have killed at least a dozen victims, yet not be a prolific killer because the span of their crimes was less than three years. The others are:
  • According to his file from the Department of Corrections, Olson's Social Security number is 960-28-1959.



  1. This is an incorrect statement in actuality, since that victim, along with most of the Butcher's other victims, was killed by decapitation.